Columbia, SC, April 11, 2006 - South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (SCE&G), principal subsidiary of SCANA Corporation (NYSE: SCG), announced that the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved an adjustment in the fuel component of customer rates that will allow SCE&G full recovery of costs prudently incurred in purchasing fuel to operate its electric generation facilities. Beginning in May, the monthly electric bill of a 1,000-kwh residential customer will increase $2.61 – or 2.68 percent – going from $97.34 to $99.95.
The approved adjustment is the result of a settlement agreement among the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS), South Carolina Energy Users Committee, CMC Steel South Carolina (formerly known as SMI Steel) and SCE&G.
The PSC annually reviews SCE&G's electric fuel costs and authorizes the company to adjust base rates either upward or downward to reflect those costs. Fuel costs are a direct pass-through to customers; SCE&G cannot, and does not, earn a profit on that portion of its rates.
The cost of natural gas used in electric generation increased substantially over the past 12 months and coal prices remained high – nearly twice what they were in early 2003. As a result, SCE&G's under-recovered fuel costs for the past 12 months totaled nearly $38.5 million. The agreement approved by the PSC will reduce the immediate impact on customers by spreading SCE&G's recovery of that amount over a two-year period. SCE&G will be allowed to collect interest on the deferred collections.
"We're pleased that the Commission approved the settlement agreement," said SCE&G President Neville Lorick. "We realize that fuel costs have a direct impact on our customers. That's why we work so hard to obtain reliable supplies of fuel at the lowest possible cost and to operate our plants efficiently. SCE&G runs some of the most efficient electric generating plants in America."
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 610,000 customers in 24 counties in the central, southern and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 292,000 customers in 34 counties in the state. Information about SCE&G is available on the company's web site at www.sceg.com.
SCANA Corporation, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Columbia, SC, is an energy-based holding company principally engaged, through subsidiaries, in electric and natural gas utility operations and other energy-related businesses. The Company serves approximately 610,000 electric customers in South Carolina and more than one million natural gas customers in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Information about SCANA and its businesses is available on the Company's website at www.scana.com.